Tuesday, August 07, 2007

vive l'attitude libre!

As a resident of Canada's most fun and distinctly beautiful city, I get my fair share of vacationers who want a little europe in the safety of north america each year. Many are easily confused by the french street signs, many are drunk and disorderly, many are shopping beyond what is reasonably necessary.

I love it personally. For every rude idiot who has something to say about not liking the place, tantamount to complaining that they want to go home, there is a sweet, curious person who wants to know more or at least just wants a picture taken. I see them in my favourite bars trying to order drinks or talk to the french girls, I see them in shops acting surprised the store clerks speak english, I see them on my street for festival after festival after festival.

But the guy in the coffee shop took the m*^&erfu*ing cake! I had met up with some choice family members to enjoy gay pride with on the final day. We had dinner and then dessert and we were walking around, checking out the terraces and shows. Pictures were being taken, there was loud music and shirtless men everywhere! After a few hours we were ready to start winding down and they were getting ready for a two-hour drive home. We stopped at an internet cafe for evening caffeine and we grabbed a table with some comfy chairs. I didn't take any coffee still being full from dinner and delicious iced-cream after.

Out of the dank corners of the internet part of the internet cafe, this guy storms out, there's obviously a problem, and he starts yelling at the girl behind the counter. It's about 10:30 at night, she's got no customers and he's giving her this epic tirade about how there isn't service and he should just learn to expect that because this is Quebec where everyone is lazy and nothing is ever done etc. ad nauseum. He finished with "why bother complaining, this is Quebec." I was forced under these circumstances to ask him why he would bother visiting Quebec when he had obviously decided already that he hates it. He came right up to me, his eyes smouldering with righteous indignation (I actually thought he might cry) to tell me that there wasn't service and she should tell her boss. I told him not to yell at girls in coffee shops if he wants service anywhere, no matter the province, and he told me he wants her (desperately wants her) to tell her boss what happened so that he can improve customer service and save his business which apparently is on the verge of collapse.

I couldn't help myself, I had to smirk rudely as I asked what he was doing in a small corner of the world wide web while gay pride in mecca was happening all around us.

It got better when he started talking about Quebec as a province. He hasn't been anywhere in Quebec except Montreal (according to him, I don't intend to fact check that one) and when he suggested we don't contribute and do nothing but stay on EI I got mad. He seemed surprised that Quebec is the highest taxed province in the country, with one of the lowest unemployment rates, but that's not the weird part. The weird part came when he asked what I had bought and I honestly told him I hadn't bought anything as I was full from dinner, but I did catalogue my family's purchases. He seemed to take this as me "not contributing". What's weird about it? He left and came back two minutes later to give me four dollars and tell me to buy a product in my own market. This shortly after me yelling at him for raising his voice to a girl in a coffee shop for no reason. I guess my forthright bitterness (okay, rage and bitchiness) is now a commodity that I can make a profit with!

Who are these people who think that the easiest job, the most degrading jobs are the jobs people are desperate to hold on to? Why is it acceptable to yell at a girl in a coffee shop uniform at 10:30 at night and not a suit-coated business criminal at any time of the day? I've heard more than once complaints about customer service which is fair enough to a point. But I've also seen with my own eyes people threaten Tim Horton's employees by saying they are a good friend of the owner. Are you kidding me? Of all the nonsense out there, the true human rights violations happening here and around the world, the line in the sand is drawn around the percolator.

I carefully saved the coins I was given, in case some day I need to dig in my change jar for a coffee in the middle of the afternoon while I laze around on EI not paying taxes like in the rest of Canada.

I only wish I had given him a receipt.

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